Articles

CHANGING YOUR ACCENT Can Be a Real Challenge

BEYOND WORDS – ESL, Pronunciation and Canadian English

CROSS CULTURAL TRAINING Extends the Value of ESL

PLAYING MUSIC and ACCENT MODIFICATION – Similar Learning Process

 

Audio-Visual 

INTERVIEW – FACILITATING CLEARER COMMUNICATION WITH HEATHER CHETWYND

We often misunderstand others who have been raised in the same country, often even from within the same family. So when we have been raised speaking different languages and holding different beliefs and values, misinterpretation can run rampant. In this 30 minute interview, language and cultural specialist, Heather Chetwynd, talks about why this happens and what we can do to facilitate clearer communication. Click here to listen.

INTERVIEW – GET YOUR MEANING ACROSS WITH HEATHER CHETWYND

Getting your meaning across clearly is always an issue. But when it is done in a language and culture that you did not grow up in, many aspects intrude to complicate the message. The pronunciation of individual sounds, how we put words together and stress them, how we time our responses and what expression we show on our face, how close we stand and how we gesticulate — all of these things and more can confuse the communication. And the unfortunate thing is that people judge others by evaluating through their cultural lens with little or no awareness of how one’s native culture and language influence their communication in other environments. Click here to listen to the 30 minute interview.

INTERVIEW – CHINESE PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CANADA INTERVIEWS HEATHER CHETWYND & MARK PRINCE

Voice to Word runs a regular course for speakers of Mandarin and Cantonese at the Chinese Professional Association of Canada (CPAC.) CPAC project coordinator at the time, Christy Yang, spoke with consultants Heather Chetwynd and Mark Prince about the course and a variety of general and Chinese-specific issues related to speech clarity and culture. This interview is approximately half an hour in length. Please look for edited excerpts on specific issues of pronunciation and culture, published in the Voice to Word blog. Click here to listen.

Links 

ON-LINE RESOURCES:

PRONUNCIATION –This York University site is very useful. The charts link you to a Flash animation of the sounds and names of the symbols.http://www.yorku.ca/earmstro/ipa/index.html

Another site, this time from the UK, has videos of each sound. You search by phonetic symbol. Consonants will be the same as North American English but vowels will be somewhat different in some cases. http://ipa.group.shef.ac.uk/symbols.php

TESTING YOUR SKILLS – The Test of Workplace Essential Skills(TOWES)is used to evaluate the level of a series of skills required in all workplaces to different degrees depending upon your professional demands. This site allows you to test yourself in the areas of reading, document use and numeracy. You can do the tests by level first (on the page the link goes to) and then test yourself in specific areas, by clicking the PRACTICE link. http://measureup.towes.com/english/testskills.asp?skill=reading_text

ESL EXERCISES – An extension of Settlement.org, this site has a wide number of videos, transcripts and language exercises organized by area, such as citizenship, employment, daily life and financial literacy. Practice your listening comprehension and expand you knowledge of idioms.  Search exercises by CLB level (Canadian Language Benchmarks.) http://eslcorner.settlement.org/

DEVELOPING CULTURAL COMPETENCY – This site has many resources and information about working in a multicultural environment. This link has a series of videos on cross-cultural issues in the workplace. If you look around, you will find many other videos and webinars on issues related to immigration and the integration of foreign-trained professionals into the Canadian workplace. http://www.hireimmigrants.ca/resources-tools/videos/cross-cultural-teamwork-2/

COMPARING CULTURES – Cultural theorist Geert Hofstede, a pioneer in cultural studies, did extensive research comparing countries all over the world by categories, such as hierarchy and collectivism, where countries fall on a continuum. This site explains these dimensions and allows you to compare any two countries. http://geert-hofstede.com/canada.html

TED TALKS – Ted Talks are thousands of videos of short to long presentations on a very wide range of topics which you can search by category. The wonderful thing about this site, apart from the very interesting diverse content, is that most presentations are transcribed and hyper-linked. (Just click the “interactive transcript” icon. This link gives you an example – it is a fascinating 12 minute presentation entitled: Could your language affect your ability to save money.) http://www.ted.com/talks/keith_chen_could_your_language_affect_your_ability_to_save_money

SETTLEMENT RESOURCES – This site has numerous articles on the variety of settlement concerns that might arise during the first stages of settling in Ontario. Topics include immigration, employment, housing, education, health and legal services. http://www.settlement.org/

HUMAN RIGHTS – The Human Rights Legal Support Center provides information about human rights in Ontario and support to those who are considering or in the process of filing a claim. http://www.hrto.ca